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INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 20 February - 5 March

Football and Money

Over the past two weeks, we followed with interest worldwide ongoing investigations. In Singapore, a hearing took place for two Malaysian shuttlers who are facing six charges each for their involvement in match-fixing activities in badminton. In the wake of the case, the Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) announced that it will continue to work closely with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to protect the integrity of the sport. In Rwanda, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has opened a match-fixing probe on Rwanda Champions Rayon Sport over their preliminary Champions League match against Burundian side Lydia Ludic Academic played on 21 February at Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura.

In terms of sentences and sanctions, 58 people were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 30 months to 10 years for their involvement in the 2011 match-fixing scandal which rocked Greek football. Several of the sentences were suspended for three years, while a number of other individuals can avoid jail by paying five euros per day for the duration of their prison term. In Pakistan, Shahzaib Hasan received a one-year ban and a hefty fine for breaching the board’s anti-corruption code and his ‘role’ in a spot-fixing scandal that rocked the country’s Twenty20 League last year. Additionally, a former Bayern Munich player reveals he was involved in match-fixing in Brazil back in 2009.

In The Philippines, disturbing betting patterns cast a shadow on basketball league games. In Spain, La Liga believes the dismantling of a criminal organization and the many arrests earlier this year, has had a disruptive effect and a welcome return to normal on Spanish betting markets.

In the United States, two cases related to corruption in sport are being investigated. The USA Track and Field has placed its president on temporary leave during Department of Justice (DOJ) corruption probe into the awarding of the 2019 championships to Qatar and 2021 championships in Oregon, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating corruption in college basketball.

With tennis’s Independent Review Panel expected to report on the match-fixing crisis before the end of the month, the International Tennis Federation

announced today that it is reinforcing its safeguards against corruption, including a new partnership with Sportradar. Finally, Kenya's supreme sports body has made it mandatory for all sports organizations to sign the anti-doping clause of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the local chapter, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK).



CAF Opens Match Fixing Probe on Rayon Sports

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has opened a match-fixing probe on Rwanda Champions Rayon Sport over their preliminary Champions League match against Burundian side Lydia Ludic Academic played on February 21 at Prince Louis Rwagasore in Bujumbura.

CAF opened the investigations after Lydia Ludic Academic through the Burundian Football Federation sent a complaint to the continental body allegedly accusing Rayon Sports of match fixing activities prior to the game. The outcome of the tie which resulted in a 2-1 aggregate loss for the Burundian outfit was claimed “not ordinary” in relation to the events that happened hours before the return match.

On Tuesday, CAF confirmed that they had opened the investigations as they informed all parties (Rayon Sports, Lydia Ludic, Referees and Match Commissioner) involved to respond to the match fixing allegations before March 6, 2018. In a circular sent to all parties by the CAF Secretary General Amr Fahmy, reads,

On the occasion of match no.54 of CAF Champion League opposing Lydia Ludic of Burundi to Rayon Sports of Rwanda on 21st February 2018; CAF was notified of the following,

On the match eve, visiting team officials (Rayon Sports Fc) were found in the fourth official’s room no 501 and others were in the corridor leading to the rooms. When confronted by home team officials, they trid to run away. Police were called and the visiting officials were detained,

The commissioner intervened and made his won investigations and observed the clips of CCTV of the hotel.The match took place as scheduled,

Consequently, CAF decided to implement the provisions of the Disciplinary Code and open an investigation, affording all concerned parties the opportunity to respond to the allegations by not later than March 6th, 2018, whereupon the matter may be submitted to the CAF Disciplinary Committee,

However, Rayon Sports Fc Secretary General, Bernard Itangishaka refuted any match fixing allegations.

We received the circular from CAF but it is not true that any of our officials were involved in such unethical activities. And none of our delegation members was arrested in Bujumbura as claimed in the letter. We will respond to the allegations explaining our own side of the story but it’s very absurd that Lydia Ludic had to come up with such baseless claims following our victory,

Rayon Sports Fc is scheduled to face South African giants and 2016 CAF Champions League winner, Mamelondi Sundowns in the first leg scheduled for March 6-7 in Kigali while the return leg will be staged in South Africa in the weekend of 16-18, 2018.

Source: Bonnie Mugabe, 1 March 2018, KT Press



Calm after the storm. LaLiga reports quiet betting markets after 32 matchfixing arrests

The first weekend of football in Spain’s leagues after the dramatic arrests of 32 suspected matchfixers last week has seen a welcome return to normality in the Spanish football betting markets. LaLiga head of integrity Alfredo Lorenzo, said that the “from the intelligence we have on Segunda B and the Third Division, it is completely flat.”

Maybe this is by chance, but I think it is because we have dismantled a matchfixing and criminal organisation, and the investigation is not closed. We are monitoring and investigation and working in exactly the same way as we were before the arrests.

The Spanish case is likely to prove a landmark in the battle against matchfixers in Europe and could prove to be a model for a new level of co-operation between federations and law enforcement bodies. Lorenzo will be speaking at the Tackling Matchfixing conference March 9-10 in London on the Spanish case, outlining how the matchfixers were identified and investigated, and the co-operation process with Spain’s National Police that led to the arrests.

Lorenzo, a former Spanish police officer, said: “We have been working on this investigation for more than a year. It has been a big focus for this organisation.

LaLiga have filed more than 40 reports to Spanish police since February 2017, and more are likely to be filed. The reports were not just a list of betting market irregularities but also included LaLiga’s own investigations – including names of matchfixers and their links and roles in the criminal activity. This gave the police a foothold for their own investigations.

The eventual arrests included the matchfixing gang’s two main ringleaders – both former players – as well as a referee. As many as 25 players were involved in fixing matches and arrests included a number of runners who were placing bets, mainly on the Asian betting markets.

Along with the arrests comes a whole new level of information on how matches are fixed and gangs formed. Lorenzo says that matchfixers target key players in defensive positions and particularly goalkeepers and team captains – essentially players who can ensure a game is lost or a high score can be achieved. What is not clear is whether the arrested matchfixers, about 90% of whom were Spanish, were working with organised crime in Asia or on their own, though certainkly they had links in Asia and China in particular.

LaLiga’s Integrity Department has been monitoring betting markets using its own software (TYCHE) since the beginning of the season, and has its own team of analysts who are specialists in Spanish football, including the third and fourth tier as well as women’s football.

The bulk of this case is now before the court in the Spanish city of Zafra in Southern Spain, a region where a bulk of the instances reported too place. But Lornezo says that while this is a very significant breakthrough and praises the work of the police, the investigations are not over. “The filing of new reports from other matches that are under investigation by LaLiga’s integrity department cannot be ruled out, albeit only when the secrecy order has been lifted,” he said.

By the time Lorenzo speaks at the tackling Matchfixing conference in London March 9-10, the court will likely have unsealed more information surrounding the criminal gang and their activities. Information that will provide learnings for everyone involved in the battle against the biggest threat facing the integrity of football.

Source: Paul Nicholson, 26 February 2018, Inside World Football





Greek match-fixing scandal leads to 58 jail sentences

Athens (AFP) – Fifty-eight people were sentenced to jail terms ranging from 30 months to 10 years on Wednesday for their involvement in the 2011 match-fixing scandal which rocked Greek football.

Several of the sentences were suspended for three years, while a number of other individuals can avoid jail by paying five euros per day for the duration of their prison term.

Among those sentenced by the three-member Court of Appeal was former Greece international and current Brisbane Roar defender Avraam Papadopoulos who received a suspended 30-month sentence.

The court ruled the 33-year-old was guilty of illegal betting on matches while he was playing for Greek giants Olympiakos.

Another former Olympiakos player Kostas Mendrinos, now at Apollon Smyrnis, was handed a similar punishment for the same offence.

Former Ilioupoli player Michalis Nikolopoulos was sentenced to four years behind bars, a sentence that will be suspended under the condition that he appears every month at the local police station and is under the supervision of a social welfare officer.

Nikolopoulos was found guilty of betting, as well as bribery in two matches.

Achilleas Beos, the mayor of the northern city of Volos and ex-president of Olympiakos Volos, received a four-year sentence for bribery, manipulating results of two matches and illegal betting.

Asteras Tripolis owner Dimitris Bakos and the club’s president Giorgos Borovilos were handed suspended three-year terms for bribery, while former Levadiakos president Giannis Kombatis got a term of 30 months.

The longest jail term was given to former Ilioupoli president Giorgos Tsakogiannis, sentenced to 10 years and 10 months for illegal gambling, illegal betting, bribery, money laundering, attempted extortion and the possession of illegal weapons.

He was reportedly involved in four attempts to rig matches.

All those sentenced have the right of appeal.

Originally 84 people were named in the match-fixing scandal, including Olympiakos boss Vangelis Marinakis who along with 24 others were acquitted.

Greek judicial authorities began the investigation after a list of 41 suspicious matches were submitted to the country’s football federation by European football’s ruling body UEFA.

The list included two matches from the Super League and many from the second division.

Source: AFP, 1 March 2018, World Soccer Talk



PCB slaps Shahzaib Hasan with one-year ban, Rs one million fine

LAHORE: A Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) anti-corruption tribunal on Wednesday slapped opener Shahzaib Hasan with a one-year ban and Rs one million fine for breaching the board’s anti-corruption code and his ‘role’ in a spot-fixing scandal that rocked the country’s Twenty20 League last year. Hasan, who was playing for the Karachi Kings, was one of six players charged with various breaches of the code during the second edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) held in the United Arab Emirates. “Hasan has been banned for one year and fined one million rupees on one charge though we requested for more action against him on inducing other players for fixing,” a PCB spokesman told reporters. Since Hasan was provisionally suspended by the PCB on March 18 last year, his ban is less than three weeks away from its end. However, the PCB spokesman said this did not mean he would be eligible to play cricket as soon as that. “His ban may end on March 17, but remember that according to the anti-corruption code, you have to go through a rehabilitation process. The first step towards beginning rehabilitation is the acceptance of guilt. If he does not accept that he was guilty, then his rehabilitation process cannot begin.” Following the tribunal’s verdict, Hasan’s lawyer Kashif Rajwana told reporters that his client was not punished for luring someone into spot-fixing “but for informing the board about violations after a delay.” The lawyer added that he would decide about an appeal against the decision after consultation with the player.

Hasan has been found guilty on two counts of breaching Clause 2.4.4, which deals with a failure to disclose corrupt approaches, and one count of Clause 2.4.5, which concerns the failure to report any incident a player is aware of that would amount to a breach of the anti-corruption code. Hasan has, crucially, been found not guilty of breaching the far more serious Clause 2.1.4, which involves “directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any participant to breach any of the foregoing provisions of this Article 2.1.” That would have likely led to a significantly longer ban.

Hasan is the sixth player to be sanctioned in the wake of the PSL spot-fixing case. Yesterday’s verdict meant all six players – Sharjeel Khan (5 years), Khalid Latif (5 years), Mohammad Irfan (one year) , Mohammad Nawaz (two months), Nasir Jamshed (one year) were the others – have been banned for certain lengths of time for their role in the saga. Even so, the process is not yet concluded. The PCB has slapped further corruption charges on Nasir, which could result in a longer ban. Hasan, 28, was a member of Pakistan’s World Twenty20 winning team in 2009 but had not played any international cricket in the past eight years. Hasan, an aggressive opener, played three one-day internationals and 10 Twenty20 internationals before losing his place due to poor performance in 2010.

Spot-fixing involves determining the outcome of a specific part of a match rather than the overall result, and is therefore harder to detect than match-fixing. The third edition of the PSL is currently being staged in the UAE, with two play-offs in Lahore and the final in Karachi on March 25. The PCB took extra measures to stem spot-fixing, with all six teams in this year’s league monitored by anti-corruption officers. Pakistan has a history of fixing, with former captain Salim Malik and Ataur Rehman banned for life in 2000. A spot-fixing case during Pakistan’s tour of England in 2010 ended in five-year bans on then Test captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir. Pakistan leg-spinner Danish Kaneria is also serving a life ban on charges of spot-fixing during a county match in England in 2009.

Source: Muhammad Ali, 1 March 2018, Daily Times



Disturbing betting patterns cast "game-fixing" cloud over some D-League games

WHEN Mila’s Lechon consented to put its name on a PBA D-League team this season, all management ever wanted was a chance to market its brand to a larger audience. Little did they know that it would become a bit more complicated.

The new team in the developmental league quickly got dragged into controversy after it got blown out by an average of 26.2 points in four games and got massacred, 102-55, by Zarks Burger–Lyceum in a match where observers felt the players "just quit playing" during the second half.

Immediately after that game, the team, from management to the coaches to the players, were summoned by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial and technical supervisor Erik Castro to a meeting where, sources said, there were more questions than there were answers.

The very next day, the PBA announced that the Mighty Roasters "have disbanded," the first team to do so in midstream in the seven-year history of the league. Sought for comment by, Aika Salanguit, the youthful team owner of the Mighty Roasters, vowed that the team will return to the D-League stronger than ever.

We’re gonna be back in the D-League with a new team,” she said. “We’re gonna form a better team, with new players and coaches and we’re gonna be competitive.

A disturbing trend

However, the sudden disbandment wasn't the end of it. Information examined by showed a disturbing betting pattern in major international sites that cast suspicion on the results of some D-League games - the Mila's-Zarks game included.

What’s surprising is how games of the D-League, among other smaller leagues in the country, appear to be of interest to major betting sites all over the world for ‘professional gamblers’ to bet on, with tens of thousands of dollars changing hands in one match alone. Aside from the D-League, games of other smaller leagues, even the NCRAA, appear to have attracted interest from these major betting sites.

"Milyunan ang taya," bared one member of a D-League team.

A source familiar with the major betting sites who claimed to be "following the D-League for two to three seasons now" confirmed the suspicious patterns in some games, the most glaring being the Zarks-Mila's Lechon match last February 28.

In that game, Zarks, as expected, came in as heavy favorites with an opening spread of +30.5, meaning the Lyceum-backed squad coached by Topex Robinson would have to win by 31 to pay off for bettors.

But the source said the real meat of the betting came in through live bets, where the handicap changed as the match progressed.

The source, who followed the match through live stats provided by the betting site, said he was "appalled" to see the odds rising despite the game being close in the first half.

The game was tied at 25-all after the first quarter before Zarks took a narrow five-point lead at the half. But instead of the point spread narrowing, bets kept coming in for a huge victory for Zarks, causing the handicap to balloon even more.

After one quarter, the line was +46.5 from +30.5 before the game. When Mila’s was down five in quarter two, the line was +40.5 when it should have been less than 20, actually about 12-15,” he explained. “The line was rising when it should have been dropping.

Under such trend, thousands of dollars in bets will have to be placed on Zarks for the line to reach as high as 46.5 after one quarter. So who in his right mind would put big money on a team to win by 40 plus points when the game was highly competitive after the first quarter?

Nobody will (bet that). Only those who probably knew how it will finish would bet that,” the source answered.

Mila's Lechon fell apart in the second half. The team scored just 16 points in the final two quarters after putting up 25 in the first quarter alone. Fans who trooped to the Pasig Sports Complex were dismayed by turnover upon turnover that led to easy lay-ups for the opponents.

The team was beaten by 47 points; the betting line ended with a spread of 45.5.

The source who followed the match through live stats said the ending was "totaly illogical." So disturbing, in fact, that Zarks coach Topex Robinson spoke out after the game, saying "we're gonna play our basketball no matter if they (other team) don't wanna play basketball."

As perplexing as the result was, it wasn't the first Mila's Lechon game that left bettors dumbfounded, the source bared.

He cited the first game against Jose Rizal University. The pre-game betting line had the Heavy Bombers as 8.5 favorites, seen by many as a fair spread. But when the live bets came in, that was where the pattern got really "strange," the source added.

By the first quarter, the handicap ballooned to +18.5, meaning there were bets coming in for the Bombers to win by a wide margin even while Mila’s Lechon was ahead 12-8 with less than five minutes to go.

The game was tied at 25-all in the second quarter, yet the spread grew to +20.5. True enough, the JRU Bombers won the match by 29 points, 96-67. The handicap ended at +28.5 for Mila’s Lechon.

The finish to that game was weird, to say the least.

Mila’s last scored with 3:02 left to trim the lead down to 15, 82-67. The team then turned the ball over four times, went 0-of-4 from the field, and sent the Bombers to the free-throw line eight times in the final 1:17, including four in the last 39 seconds. JRU's lead ballooned to 29 in the end.

Sources said such incidents are no longer new and more or less follow the same pattern. Such suspicious finishes happen in mostly smaller leagues, which catch less attention compared to the PBA, UAAP, or NCAA, and mostly involved new teams. The strange spike in bets also happen during live bets.

The source said creating multiple accounts is integral to the process because betting sites only allow an account to bet $3,000 in a specific time frame. Once it exceeds that amount, the site automatically blocks the account from placing any more bets.

But with multiple accounts, a bettor can pour in a lot more money while the match is ongoing.

League insiders told a couple of other teams in the D-League have figured in matches that had similarly disturbing betting patterns in the same international sites, raising fears that results of some matches are being fixed to suit bets.

The fears, as it is, are legitimate. Just last November, eight players and one team owner were banned from the Indonesian Basketball League for fixing the results of four matches.

In the Philippines, suspicions about game-fixing are mostly talked about in whispers and no team or player has ever been charged - much less convicted - of game-fixing, in any level.

The PBA, which runs the D-League, has yet to issue a statement on the Mila's Lechon incident, although a source bared that it was PBA officials who convinced Mila's Lechon to withdraw from the league after being confronted by the suspicious betting patterns.

A league official also confirmed that the owners of Mila's Lechon were only convinced to back the team and had little or no knowledge about the way the ballclub was run. They also didn't hesitate to pull the plug when informed about the controversy, he added.

The team manager and head coach of the team aren't well-known in D-League circles, even among league officials and veteran sports writers. They have yet to reply to messages seeking comment.

Source: Christian Jacinto, 1 March 2018, Spin





International Tennis Federation announces fresh anti match-fixing measures

With tennis’s Independent Review Panel expected to report on the match-fixing crisis before the end of the month, the body that runs most of the world’s professional tournaments announced today that it is reinforcing its safeguards against corruption.

The International Tennis Federation is responsible for organising all events below ATP and WTA level, which involve more than 50,000 matches played by a semi-professional workforce of up to 14,000 players.

Betting alerts on these low-level matches have caused serious concern for tennis’s administrators, and led to the commission of Adam Lewis QC to lead the IRP investigation more than two years ago.

Today the ITF moved to pre-empt some of the recommendations in the report by announcing a new partnership with Sportradar, the sports-data specialist who already supply live scores from those low-level tournaments to the ITF and to betting sites.

At the moment, the Tennis Integrity Unit does its best to monitor world markets via voluntary agreements with around 25 bookmakers. Sportradar will be running an electronic fraud detection system – which is already in use in football and 16 other sports – across 550 bookmakers, a vastly more ambitious operation.

The investment will not be cheap, as Sportradar say they will have to hire more than a dozen extra staff to cover the vast extent of the ITF Pro Circuit. But it is likely that Lewis will recommend the introduction of stronger integrity safeguards when he delivers his verdict in a few weeks’ time, and this looks like a case of the ITF getting in early.

The spotlight may then shift to the ATP and WTA tours, which use IMG to provide their live data. As usual in tennis, there is a lack of co-ordination between different governing bodies which all do their own thing.

This has been a busy week for the ITF, which has already announced controversial plans to reorganise the world group of the Davis Cup from a home-and-away competition into a week-long tournament in November. While the new concept has outraged traditionalists, it is backed by the offer of billions of dollars of investment from Kosmos, an investment group fronted by the Barcelona footballer Gerard Pique – money which could help fund initiatives like this one.

Source: 2 March 2018, The Telegraph



Kenya's supreme sports body amends charter to eradicate doping menace

NAIROBI, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's supreme sports body has made it mandatory for all sports organizations seeking and getting affiliation to the umbrella body to submit in total to all anti-doping regulations.

During the annual general meeting of the Kenya National Sports Council (KNSC) held in Nairobi on Saturday, the country's supreme advisory board to the national government made it obligatory for all sports organizations to sign the anti-doping clause of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the local chapter, the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya (ADAK) to bind all sports organizations to the same unconditionally.

"To this effect, the sports organizations shall sign the anti-doping clause unconditionally as a precondition for granting and retention of membership," said Nderitu Gikaria, the council chairman.

Kenya has intensify the fight against doping menace that saw the global anti-doping agency put the East African nation on the watch list in 2016 for failing to implement strict rules and guidelines on doping. WADA operates a principal of strict liability which requires that each athlete is firmly liable for the substances found in their bodily specimen and that an anti-doping rule violation occurs whenever a prohibited substance is found in the specimen whether or not an athlete intentionally or unintentionally used a prohibited substance or was negligent or otherwise at fault.

As Kenya prepares to send athletes to four global competitions in the next one-and-a-half months, the country is leaving nothing to chance to lower the risks of enlisting drug cheats among its roll. Kenyan runners will be lined up in four competitions soon including the World Indoor Championships, World Half Marathon Championship, Africa Cross Country Championships, and the Commonwealth Games.

Gikaria said that as an association affiliated to the African Union Sports Council, the KNSC will remain committed to complying with the World Anti-Doping Code and protecting the health of Kenyan athletes and the integrity of Kenyan sports, adding that the organization has the capacity to sue and being sued.

Source: 25 February 2018, Xinhua Net


Philippines Football League (PFL) partners Sportradar for multiyear data, OTT and integrity services

[Manila, Philippines] With the second season of the Philippines Football League (PFL) kicking off at the start of March, the PFL today agreed on a multi-year partnership with Sportradar—a global leader in the sports data, media and integrity space—announcing the company as their official and exclusive global audio-visual and data distribution, as well as integrity services partner.

Kicking off with a signing ceremony the Marco Polo Ortigas, the strategic partnership will enable the PFL to create its own video and streaming platform built using Sportradar’s OTT (Over-The-Top) solution. Fully customizable and scalable, this OTT platform will integrate high-quality video streaming and content, with highly engaging and visualized statistical data viewable across all mobile devices, desktops and smart TVs. The PFL will be able to commercialize the platform through advertising, sponsorships, subscription or pay-per-view opportunities for ‘live’ matches. Aimed at developing the league’s following, the content will be available through all platforms 24/7 for fans and audiences across the Philippines, as well as around the world.

Integral to the partnership is the integrity services that Sportradar will provide to the PFL. The campaign logo and tagline Integrity Always was officially presented by the PFL and Sportradar to members of the attending media and stakeholders, and will be used for outreach programs both internally, and externally. Sportradar will also conduct a series of educational and prevention workshops for clubs and players, focusing on the dangers and consequences of match-fixing. Complementing the coverage delivered by the company’s partnerships with the Asia Football Confederation (AFC) and FIFA, Sportradar Integrity Services will monitor, identify and analyse suspicious activities relating to the league through its award-winning Fraud Detection System.

2017 was a fantastic first year for the PFL, and we believe that 2018 will be the year we take the league to the next level with Sportradar,” said Mariano Araneta, PFF President and Chairman of the LFI Board of Directors. “We are delighted to have a trusted global brand such as Sportradar join our journey, a company that shares our passion and sees the potential of the league.

As our first OTT partner in Asia, the PFL joins a rapidly growing group of federations and leagues globally that have taken a decisive step towards delivering an innovative digital strategy that will provide value and engagement for its sponsors and advertisers, as well as to the delight of its fans,” said Biplav Gautam, Director of Business Development in Asia “We are particularly encouraged by the PFL’s commitment to keeping the league clean, and we are confident that the engagement of our Integrity Services will safeguard the league against match-fixing”.

Source: 22 February 2018, CalvinAyre





Sports Ex-Bayern star Douglas Costa admits match-fixing in Brazil

Former Bayern Munich winger Douglas Costa has admitted helping ti throw a football game in his home country, Brazil. It appears the match-fixing efforts had a direct influence on the outcome of the national title. Juventus star Douglas Costa revealed he had taken part in match-fixing in an interview with Brazilian broadcaster Pilhado that is available on YouTube. Costa admitted deliberately helping his then-club Gremio lose a match against Flamengo in 2009.

Club bosses and thousands of fans had implored the team to throw the match, according to Costa, as victory would have seen their hated rivals Internacional secure the Brazilian title. "It would have been a black mark in Gremio's history if they had helped Internacional win the title," Costa said. "So club officials told us we could do what we wanted. But if we won, the fans would chase us all the way to the airport."

The pressure was so great, that Costa even feared for his life: "If we'd beaten Flamengo, we could have died. The Gremio fans would have killed us," he said. To avoid that, Costa said he spent the second half dribbling the ball away from the goal. Flamengo ran out easy winners and "everyone was happy."

The 2-1 victory meant Flamengo sealed their sixth Brazilian title with a two-point gap over Internacional. It remains unclear whether Costa's revelations will lead to a criminal investigation.

Costa turned out for Gremio between 2008 and 2010, before moving to Ukrainian giants Shaktar Donetsk. After making his name in Europe, he joined German record champions Bayern Munich in a €30-million ($37 million) deal. Since leaving Germany last summer, Costa has scored two goals in 18 appearances for his new club Juventus.

Source: 22 February 2018, DW



BAM will join forces with MACC to fight match-fixing in badminton

KUALA LUMPUR: The BA of Malaysia (BAM) will work closely with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to eradicate match-fixing in the sport. The national shuttlers should now think twice when they are approached by bookies as both BAM and MACC will be monitoring them regularly.

BAM’s rules and disciplinary committee chairman Datuk Seri Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunos said the national body will meet with MACC next month to discuss on strategies to fight match-fixing in badminton.

"We are in the process of identifying the steps required to deal with this (match fixing). The committee will meet again next month to discuss this further,” said Jahaberdeen.

"This is a complex issue because it involves a third party. We will meet MACC to get ideas and also to work together.

"Match-fixing is destructive and against the spirit of sportsmanship.

“Hopefully, in April, we will be able to disclose our strategies.

Jahaberdeen was instructed by BAM president Datuk Seri Norza Zakaria to come up with a formula to eradicate match-fixing on Wednesday. Two independent players are being investigated for match-fixing. They are now provisionally suspended and their case will be deliberated in a Badminton World Federation hearing in Singapore on Feb 26-27. Jahaberdeen confirmed that BAM will send Jadadish Chandra as an observer at the hearing.

"He (Jadadish) is also a rules and disciplinary committee member and he will represent BAM (in Singapore). This is also to get a clearer picture of this case,” he added. It is learnt that one of the two players investigated for match-fixing was a top shuttler in his junior days.

Source: Helmi Talkah, 22 February 2018, New Straits Times




United States

College Basketball Corruption Is Clearly Under Attack By The FBI

The college basketball industry, for the time being governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and its antiquated set of rules, is being dragged down a slippery slope that will cause its inner workings to be completely revamped for fear of major legal consequence. As is, three ongoing criminal cases coupled with a pending FBI investigation are almost assuredly to result in steep penalties both emanating from the courts and/or the NCAA (depending on the extent to which the NCAA chooses to enforce its own rules).

Today, Pat Forde and Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that documents and bank records obtained in discovery as part of the aforesaid federal investigation reveal impermissible payments that were made to college players that could implicate more than twenty Division I basketball programs. Storied programs such as Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Michigan State will be confronted with the tough decision of whether to self-impose sanctions or let the NCAA tread through its own investigations and make determinations as to appropriate penalties.

The NCAA has at times been seen as impenetrable, but the cliff is in sight for programs that will be unable to escape the paper trail of payments made to players, which includes one payment made to former Clemson player Jaron Blossomgame via Venmo. If the NCAA does not penalize schools, then it will be seen as playing favorites among its member institutions. If the Association does take action, then it will completely destroy the current balance of power among college basketball programs.

Whether or not it makes sense for the FBI to dig deep into these types of payments is a worthy question to ask, but one that is not easy to answer. What is clear; however, is that the FBI is on a mission, for some currently undisclosed reason, to expose the underworld of sports agents making payments to players and will not stop searching until it reaches the depths of the practice that has gone on for decades.

Many fans of the sport believe that student-athletes deserve to be compensated in some form or fashion, but that does not in any way change the fact that the NCAA does not currently permit the types of payments described in the Yahoo Sports report.

Barry Petchesky of Deadspin notes, "The NCAA can't -- and doesn't really want to -- police its own house. Why on earth are the feds doing it for them?" The reason is unclear, but the consequence is -- college basketball corruption is under attack by authorities that will go to no end to discover the means to an end.

An inside source who prefers not to be named says, "Basically what I have heard is it could impact every first rounder in the last three-to-four years. Look at all the schools that would cover."

Source: Darren Heitner, 23 February 2018, Forbes


United States

USA Track and Field puts president on leave during DOJ corruption probe into the awarding of the 2019 championships to Qatar and 2021 championships to Oregon

  • The Department of Justice is investigating possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges related to the awarding of both the 2019 championships to Doha, Qatar and the 2021 championships to Eugene, Oregon

  • USA Track and Field has placed its president, Vin Lananna, on temporary leave to avoid potential conflict of interest concerns during the investigation

  • USATF chairman Steve Miller said nobody at the federation believes Lananna committed wrongdoing

  • Lananna has long served as president of TrackTown USA, the nonprofit that hosts events in Eugene

  • The 65-year-old Lananna led Eugene's efforts to land the 2021 world championships, which were awarded without a bid process

USA Track and Field has placed its president, Vin Lananna, on temporary leave to avoid potential conflict of interest concerns after he was approached by investigators in connection to a wide-ranging corruption probe. The Department of Justice is investigating possible racketeering, money laundering and fraud charges related to the awarding of both the 2019 championships to Doha, Qatar and the 2021 championships to Eugene, Oregon.

Lananna, 65, has long served as president of TrackTown USA, the nonprofit that hosts events in Eugene. He led Eugene's efforts to land the championships, which were awarded without a bid process. Lananna was approached by the DOJ months ago, according to USATF.

USATF chairman Steve Miller said nobody at the federation believes Lananna committed wrongdoing, but the move was made to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest.

"USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation," Miller said in a statement, adding that the organization would "reach out to [the Department of Justice] to offer its commitment to cooperate fully."

In his own statement, Lananna claimed to be surprised by the move.

"To be honest, I am surprised and taken aback at the Board's decision. I have been committed to track and field and the members of this Federation for over 40 years, and I am dedicated to continuing my service to the sport. I do not agree that this action was necessary."

U.S. law enforcement officials have been looking into alleged corruption into the awarding of the 2016 Summer Olympics to Rio de Janeiro, people familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal in December. There are reportedly similar probes being conducted by French and Brazilian authorities.

These scandals have grown increasingly common in international athletics.

Several IOC members were forced to step down in 1998 after it was revealed that they had taken payments from the Salt Lake Bid Committee co-heads Tom Welch and Dave Johnson in return awarding the 2002 Winter Olympics to Salt Lake City.

Qatar had a similar controversy surrounding its acquisition of the 2022 World Cup. In March of 2014 it was reported by The Telegraph that former CONCACAF president Jack Warner was paid almost $2 million from a firm connected to Qatar's campaign to acquire the soccer tournament.

Several of the tournament's sponsors, such as Sony, Adidas and Coca-Cola, have demanded that FIFA investigate the claims.

Source: Alex Raskin, 20 February 2018, Daily Mail


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